Chancellor's Communiqué

Standing Together Against Racism and Injustice, 6-1-2020

Dear Members of the CU Denver Community,

Like so many of you, we are horrified by the tragic and senseless death of George Floyd and outraged that we as a society haven’t made more progress on addressing issues of systemic racism and injustice over the past several decades.

We’ve been moved by the many protests, marches, and sheer expressions of the desire to do something, even as we’re frustrated by the manner in which some have resorted to violence to express their anger. We share that desire to do something—and in fact, hold ourselves accountable—as we acknowledge that simply expressing outrage does nothing to move progress.

Our role as a public urban research university carries with it the responsibility to not only live the values we share and espouse, but to use our resources, research, and expertise to better our city and our world. That is what in large part defines the scholarly work of our faculty, and underscores our collective commitment to providing educational opportunities and support that help students of every background succeed. We must ensure that our campus remains a place where differences of all kinds—whether they are race, ethnicity, identity, or belief—are respected, valued, and protected.

We know that words fall shallow unless backed by action. As leaders of this university, we commit to the following:

  • Effective immediately, we are directing $25,000 to support the Office of Diversity and Inclusion’s Teach-In program to recognize the “above and beyond” work that we are asking from our faculty at this time. Additionally, we have asked Dr. Nelia Viveiros to utilize a portion of these funds to support student employees in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion who can work to further assist in the Teach-In program and also to support upcoming Diversity Dialogues.
  • We will partner with the city of Denver, the state of Colorado, and other community coalitions to take concrete actions that work against hatred, ignorance, and inequality. Toward that end, CU Denver staff are currently serving on Denver’s Racial Equity Committee and the Colorado Governor’s COVID-19 Equity Task Force.
  • We will donate 2,500 one-time use masks to our community demonstrators who may need them. The current public health crisis continues to have serious consequences and we hope that everyone takes steps to keep our community safe.   
  • We will make a commitment to learn and grow within the CU Denver organizational culture. The work of unpacking racism is our communal responsibility. We cannot say that someone else needs to deal with it; it is on all of us.

We are grateful for all that you do and ask that each of us recommit to doing our part to make CU Denver a safe, respectful, diverse, and inclusive campus. We acknowledge and appreciate the leadership of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and of our faculty and staff who work in the areas that impact our most vulnerable communities. And we support and are continually inspired by our students’ commitment to positive, lasting change. Together, we can shape our world for the better.


Dorothy Horrell, Chancellor

Roderick Nairn, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor, Academic and Student Affairs

Jennifer Sobanet, CU Denver CFO and Senior Vice Chancellor, Administration and Finance

Chancellor’s Office

CU Denver

Lawrence Street Center

1380 Lawrence Street

Suite 1400

Denver, CO 80204


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